A few years ago, it seemed that the U.S. was starting to lose its edge in poker. Just about every World Series of Poker final table had at least a few international players, and many of them were winning bracelets.
But this year, outside of Germany's George Danzer, has been the year of American resurgence. While the Series is far from over, Americans have dominated the action through the first 40 events. That said, things can certainly change very quickly, especially with the $50,000 Poker Players Championship now underway, the $1 million Big One for One Drop set for next week, and of course, the Main Event, which begins on July 5.
There could be any number of reasons for this sudden change in American fortunes. It could be that the WSOP in Las Vegas (at least tournaments that are not the Main Event) is losing its luster for non-U.S. players, who can now play WSOP and EPT events in Europe. It could be that Americans have studied up and improved their game. Or it could be simple variance. Without complete details on the numbers of players from each country that have registered, it's impossible to know for sure.
Regardless, we Americans could use a lift after last night's frustrating 2-2 tie with Portugal in the World Cup. Here are 10 stats that show just how much the Americans are dominating this year's WSOP through the first 40 events.
10. U.S. is 35-for-43
If you haven't seen it yet, give the WSOP's official stats page a look. It's a lot of fun to look over, and the basis for most of the stats in this column. As of the morning of June 23, it was up-to-date through 40 events. I did the "math" on the most recent final tables, allowing me to chalk up three more wins for the Americans, giving U.S. players a whopping 35 of 43 WSOP titles this year.
Last year, the U.S. won a total of 41 bracelets in Las Vegas, with international players winning 21. With 20 events to go, it looks like the Americans will shatter their total from last year, while players from outside the U.S. are barely on pace to reach half the number won by international players last year.
Perhaps the biggest surprise this year is the donut put up so far by Canadian players after winning 10 bracelets last summer.
9. U.S. has more than 80 percent of cashes
Through 40 events this year, there have been 4,759 in-the-money finishes at this year's WSOP, and the U.S. owns 3,836 of those cashes. Only two other countries have reached triple digits, with Canada in second (282) and the U.K. in third (124). The U.S. has a 13.6:1 lead over its nearest competitor in this metric.
8. Fifteen U.S. players have cleared $500,000
With high buy-in events coming, these numbers are sure to change rapidly, but of the 18 players who have won a half a million dollars, 15 of them are Americans. Perhaps even more telling, only seven nations other than the United States have players that have combined for more than $500,000.
7. U.S. is third in winnings per capita
You'd think that as the world's third-most-populous nation, the U.S. would have a tough time topping the winnings-per-capita statistic. Let's be honest, this one is kind of silly, but it's still interesting. With more than 318 million residents, U.S. players have brought home 18.8 cents per person in winnings, which ranks third, behind Monaco and Belize. Of course, the U.S. has nearly 1,000 times as many residents as Belize, which, thanks to Bob Bounahra's third-place finish in Event #21, has an impressive 44.9 cents per person so far this year. But Monaco, which claims just 36,950 residents, tops the winnings per capita with 68.3 cents per person, thanks to Govert Metaal, who has cashed twice for a total of $25,242.
6. Final table appearances
Not only has the U.S. filled 82.8 percent of the final table seats so far this year, they have also managed to shut out international players from 11 final tables this year. Americans have filled all but one seat in 13 events, and there have only been six final tables thus far with three or more international players.
5. Either the bride or the bridesmaid all but one time
If an American player didn't win a bracelet, an American was second all but one time so far this summer. The only exception to this rule was Event #29, a $2,500 No-Limit Hold'em tournament won by Pierre Milan of France, with Canadian Justin Oliver in second.
4. U.S. has more than 80 percent of the cash
Sure, players from 60 nations have won money at the WSOP so far this year. But players from the U.S. have won the lion's share of the nearly $74.2 million awarded at this year's WSOP.
U.S. players have cashed for nearly $59.8 million at this year's WSOP and they hold a 23:1 advantage over Canadian players, who are in second with about $2.6 million.
3. Cashes per capita
The U.S. ranks fourth in cashes per capita behind the tiny nations of Monaco (1 cash per 18,475 residents), the Cayman Islands (1/27,728) and Liechtenstein (1/37,132). The U.S. is the only nation with a population of more than 100,000 to cash at a rate of better than 1/100,000; the precise number for the Americans is 1/82,966.
The world's two most populous nations have also had the least success at the WSOP, with only 1-in-455 million people from China finishing in the money, and 1-in-311 million people from India cashing.
2. Bracelets per capita
Players from seven different countries have won bracelets this year, but none can match the Americans for their productivity so far this summer. Americans have won a bracelet for every 9.9 million U.S. residents. The next closest nation is Belgium with one bracelet for its 11.2 million residents. Germany's three bracelets lower its bracelets per capita to one for every 26.9 million, roughly a third as productive as American players.
1. Dominance at every age
View the earnings by age, and you'll see that Americans are dominating every category. The U.S. owns eight of the top-10 spots in the under-30 demographic, with Justin Bonomo leading the way with $691,503. Americans likewise own eight of the top-10 spots in the 30-50-year-old group, with Jonathan Dimmig atop the group with more than $1.3 million, thanks to his win in the Millionaire Maker event at the beginning of the Series. And in the seniors' division (50+), nine Americans sit in the top-10 spots, with Dan Heimiller atop the list with $637,867.
Home-game hotshot Aaron Todd was an editor/writer at Casino City for nearly eight years, and is currently the Assistant Director of Athletics for Communications and Marketing at St. Lawrence University, his alma mater. While he is happy to play Texas Hold'em, he'd rather mix it up and play Omaha Hi/Lo, Razz, Deuce-to-Seven Triple Draw, and Badugi.